Adoption STAR’s MSW Intern Ariel Harris reflects on the end of her yearlong field placement with our agency.
During my time at Adoption STAR, I’ve learned a great deal about adoption, the challenges that come with infertility, and what it means to be a family.
For most of us, family is the group of people we’re simply born into. It can be easy to take our family members (and the relationships we have with them) for granted. As a result of interning at Adoption STAR, my perspective on family has shifted. Every day I spent at the agency, I was reminded of the importance of family and inspired by the staff (who are so committed to the process of creating “forever families” for children in need). The concept of family isn’t defined by things like race, gender, religion, age or anything of the like; rather, the only constant I found as the defining aspect of family is love.
My internship has also afforded me the opportunity to bare witness to the concept of selflessness in the truest sense of the word. I’ve seen it expressed by birth parents that have made the incredibly difficult decision to place a child for adoption. I’ve seen it expressed by adoptive parents who navigate an often-challenging journey with patience and humility (and who ultimately open their hearts and homes to a child). I’ve seen it expressed in the actions and commitment of Adoption STAR’s staff as they work late nights, early mornings, and on weekends to provide the best support to clients they can.
In my opinion, the media portrays adoption in such a biased light. I think it’s important to note that everyone’s adoption journey is different. Throughout my year at the agency, I was able to experience first hand a wide variety of adoption stories, matches, and family dynamics. Despite these differences, the one thing that remained constant is the resiliency, optimism and love that are an inherent part of this journey for all parties involved.
I have enjoyed my time at Adoption STAR and want to thank not only the agency for teaching me so much about the field I love, but also the families I have came into contact with. I thank you for sharing your stories, sadness, happiness and optimism. I have truly learned a great deal from you as well, and I applaud your strength and the value you’ve attached to both love and family more than you could even know.